Pakistan news January 12, 2012

Security situation in Pakistan has improved - Majid Khan

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The international community should take decisive steps to ensure cricket returns to Pakistan as soon as the safety of visiting teams can be guaranteed, former PCB chairman Majid Khan has said. Majid, who is on the executive committee of the MCC, presented a security update on the situation in Pakistan at the body's latest meeting in Cape Town over the weekend.

Majid reported on an improved Pakistan situation, where security threats are minimal, and the MCC received his review with "optimism." They are considering sending a delegation to Pakistan to conduct further assessment and Majid is hopeful that this will be the start of Pakistan hosting cricket again.

"Whether the observers will come before [the next MCC meeting in] August I am not sure. The committee will also decide what sort of players they will send, whether it is a University team or just volunteers who are willing to go as an MCC team," Majid told ESPNcricinfo at Newlands. "Regardless of what standard it is, they will still go to play and it will break the ice."

No Test team has toured Pakistan since the ghastly terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in 2009. Afghanistan are the only national team to have played there in the interim. The Pakistan team now plays its 'home' matches in the United Arab Emirates, where they have hosted series against South Africa and Sri Lanka, and are currently preparing to play England.

Bangladesh are the only team to have responded to a request to tour Pakistan. The PCB have invited them to visit in April, subject to a security check and various security guarantees which included bullet- and bomb-proof buses. Actions such as these are what Majid wants other countries and the ICC to engage in to take cricket back to Pakistan.

"It's up to the international community to make up their minds and assess the situation themselves, which they haven't done," he said. "They have to decide when they want to play in Pakistan. The ICC task force hasn't visited Pakistan personally. I think it is time for the world community to physically come and start the process. If Bangladesh comes it will ease the fears of the international community but it all depends on the ICC and how quickly they would like to see Pakistan hosting home series."

Majid's report may tempt the ICC, to whom the MCC presents recommendations, to evaluate the situation themselves. "Terrorist activity has abated a lot," he said. His foremost example is of the British Army team who travelled to Pakistan army in December.

"Just before their arrival, the NATO strike occurred," Majid said, making a reference to the November 26 strike along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, which killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. "In deference to the soldiers, they postponed the games but the British Army team arrived in Pakistan. They practiced in the capital, Islamabad, without any security. They went up to a hill resort called Murree, spent a day there and they are thinking of returning in February to play the games. That's a positive sign."

While the average Pakistan cricket supporter is keen to see cricketing action resuming in the country, Majid thinks there may be some sceptics. The spot-fixing trial and convictions have cast a long shadow over cricket in Pakistan and Majid says many fans have begun to doubt the honesty of the game.

"There is a lot of cynicism among the public. If any match or series, Pakistan do badly, people start questioning. I'm sure if Pakistan had been bowled out for 47 against South Africa here [at Newlands], there would have been lots of questions.

"That cynicism has to be done away with. We have to tackle the corruption problem and bring back the confidence of the public." Majid believes the only way to do that will be to ensure that harsh punishments are meted out to those who are found guilty of cheating.

He said stronger sentences, such as the jail terms that Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammed Amir are currently serving, play a dual role of acting as a deterrent to would-be offenders, and as a reassurance to the public that the problem is being taken seriously. "Overall, it has sent the message, 'watch out,' which is good," Majid said.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on January 15, 2012, 2:02 GMT

    @piyo_thanda_jiyo_thanda its nt that ur security situation is better than Pak, remember Mumbai attack??? Eng team went back bt came back aftr 3-7 days ( i dn't knw exact days). wht do u think the security situation had chnged suudenly at tht time...Big NO...its all abt Money involvd. Englnad came to India aft thy were tempted by BCCI... Pak failed to provide security to SriLanka...bt it is the administration fault not to bring back cricket in country. if u put money in, everyone will come to u. its as simple as tht

  • gallant_cricketer on January 14, 2012, 7:53 GMT

    Great spokesman, Majid is. Well said. Majid has done a nice job while giving a realistic perspective.

  • sabee66 on January 13, 2012, 22:53 GMT

    SA didn't play cricket alogn time but when they returned back to the game we all saw, pakistan is Allhamdullilah playing good cricket at the mometn, Series in England and UAE is not a bad option, I wouldn't send any Aussie there to take that much risk to be honest India can't play overseas so better for India is to invite or play in Pakistan...lol Playing outside India agains Pakistan will no different to UK and AUS...lol I am hoping Imran khan will make the country situation better and every nation will come and enjoy cricket here

  • piyo_thanda_jiyo_thanda on January 13, 2012, 22:10 GMT

    I think Pakistan does not deserve to have any international cricket after their failure to protect sri lankans. The world does not trust Pakistan any more.

  • voyager on January 13, 2012, 14:12 GMT

    I am from Pakistan. Pakistan has not used this hibernation period as an opportunity for themselves. Thas is to develop demestic professional leagues even at a modest level compared to others in the neighbourhood. This would have allowed them to overall bring more people through the turnstiles compared to international test/OD series, and also slowly attract some foreign players who are not getting drafts at IPL. Pakistan Cricket is an attractive product with decent demand in the surrounding region for TV viewership. If I was running it I would have started it and time it with every IPL series. Even if they chip away at 10% of viewer ship it would be a success and will ultimately bring IPL to the table. Self sufficiency is what we should aim for only then the rest of the world will want to come.

  • on January 13, 2012, 12:24 GMT

    wud like to see, india back on track playing pakistan in pakistan ... sports not to be mixed with attacks and politics... india-pak, at lahore... wow.... isnt amazing .. ?

  • IMRANRP on January 13, 2012, 8:08 GMT

    Good to see indian posting here and barking, they forget there team having beatings all over the world, one team cant play at home and win and one team can only play at home and win, who is winner, your choice.

  • on January 13, 2012, 7:33 GMT

    I strongly believe that the condemnable incident with SirLankan team was a one-off event. Here in Pakistan conditions have vastly improved; and we are no more facing any terrorism incidents.

  • on January 13, 2012, 6:38 GMT

    Never Trust the advice of a man in difficulties! THINK TWICE OR THRICE! "Seenig is not always believing" RECHECK BEFORE DOING OR CONFIRMING!

  • vallavarayar on January 13, 2012, 5:58 GMT

    It is better, but it's all relative. It's better compared to earlier but far dangerous still compared to other countries. You can't ask players to risk life and limb just to play cricket in Pakistan.

  • on January 15, 2012, 2:02 GMT

    @piyo_thanda_jiyo_thanda its nt that ur security situation is better than Pak, remember Mumbai attack??? Eng team went back bt came back aftr 3-7 days ( i dn't knw exact days). wht do u think the security situation had chnged suudenly at tht time...Big NO...its all abt Money involvd. Englnad came to India aft thy were tempted by BCCI... Pak failed to provide security to SriLanka...bt it is the administration fault not to bring back cricket in country. if u put money in, everyone will come to u. its as simple as tht

  • gallant_cricketer on January 14, 2012, 7:53 GMT

    Great spokesman, Majid is. Well said. Majid has done a nice job while giving a realistic perspective.

  • sabee66 on January 13, 2012, 22:53 GMT

    SA didn't play cricket alogn time but when they returned back to the game we all saw, pakistan is Allhamdullilah playing good cricket at the mometn, Series in England and UAE is not a bad option, I wouldn't send any Aussie there to take that much risk to be honest India can't play overseas so better for India is to invite or play in Pakistan...lol Playing outside India agains Pakistan will no different to UK and AUS...lol I am hoping Imran khan will make the country situation better and every nation will come and enjoy cricket here

  • piyo_thanda_jiyo_thanda on January 13, 2012, 22:10 GMT

    I think Pakistan does not deserve to have any international cricket after their failure to protect sri lankans. The world does not trust Pakistan any more.

  • voyager on January 13, 2012, 14:12 GMT

    I am from Pakistan. Pakistan has not used this hibernation period as an opportunity for themselves. Thas is to develop demestic professional leagues even at a modest level compared to others in the neighbourhood. This would have allowed them to overall bring more people through the turnstiles compared to international test/OD series, and also slowly attract some foreign players who are not getting drafts at IPL. Pakistan Cricket is an attractive product with decent demand in the surrounding region for TV viewership. If I was running it I would have started it and time it with every IPL series. Even if they chip away at 10% of viewer ship it would be a success and will ultimately bring IPL to the table. Self sufficiency is what we should aim for only then the rest of the world will want to come.

  • on January 13, 2012, 12:24 GMT

    wud like to see, india back on track playing pakistan in pakistan ... sports not to be mixed with attacks and politics... india-pak, at lahore... wow.... isnt amazing .. ?

  • IMRANRP on January 13, 2012, 8:08 GMT

    Good to see indian posting here and barking, they forget there team having beatings all over the world, one team cant play at home and win and one team can only play at home and win, who is winner, your choice.

  • on January 13, 2012, 7:33 GMT

    I strongly believe that the condemnable incident with SirLankan team was a one-off event. Here in Pakistan conditions have vastly improved; and we are no more facing any terrorism incidents.

  • on January 13, 2012, 6:38 GMT

    Never Trust the advice of a man in difficulties! THINK TWICE OR THRICE! "Seenig is not always believing" RECHECK BEFORE DOING OR CONFIRMING!

  • vallavarayar on January 13, 2012, 5:58 GMT

    It is better, but it's all relative. It's better compared to earlier but far dangerous still compared to other countries. You can't ask players to risk life and limb just to play cricket in Pakistan.

  • LillianThomson on January 13, 2012, 5:57 GMT

    It's not even three years since the attack on the Sri Lankan bus, and several players who were injured in that attack are still active. My advice to the PCB is to mend their fences with England, and host their series there. Starting with hosting India at The Oval, Leicester, Headingley, Edgbaston and Old Trafford. Imagine how much revenue those five sold-out Tests would raise!

  • nzcricket174 on January 13, 2012, 5:28 GMT

    Cricket should not return to Pakistan because the pitches are terrible and only suit Pakistan. We have seen series with a winner in the UAE, while before it was usually 0-0 after a series in Pakistan.

  • shamlaatu on January 13, 2012, 1:45 GMT

    Disappointing stuff from Majid. The ground reality and bitter facts of security situation in Pakistan may be hard to swallow but it's even more shameful when the top brains like Majid himself release hot air like this. He should rather work towards Pakistan having some good quality test cricket played against Australia, South Africa, England on MORE FREQUENT basis at neutral venues or at the opposition team's home country. This low life games against Zim, Bengla etc together with a one off series with higher ranking teams seem like the primary cricket left for Pakistan. Majid plz work towards an Imran-Lilly trophy along the same lines of Border-Gavaskar trophy, or may be Barry (Richards) - Hanif trophy series with SA instead of becoming a laughing stock by issuing statements like this.

  • Cricket_Only on January 13, 2012, 0:54 GMT

    Also, Yes you people are right about one thing that Pakistan should not rush in bringing Cricket to Pakistan soil. They should wait till the elections are over in their country before inviring anyone to Pakistan and in the mean time plan and decide how are they going to protect the International players in Pakistan. They should let their players play anywhere cricket is available and have many tournaments in Pakistan while doing so they will learn techniques to protect visitors be it local or from outside Pakistan.

  • on January 13, 2012, 0:53 GMT

    All the No Cricket in Pakistan comments, surprise surprise are coming from Indians, God you guys really really love to see our country suffer, grow up you people. You people kept a blind eye when Pakistani players were single handedly discriminated in IPL auctions post season 1, it is no coincidence Pakistan is the only test country whose players do not get bid on.

  • Cricket_Only on January 13, 2012, 0:48 GMT

    Come on maan, what is the difference between an international player getting attacked or a local resident getting attacked, at the end of the day they both are human. To my Indian and British friends, remember it is life which matters not the religion or color of your skin. Both of these contries have faced terrorism which costed them loss of beautiful lives but does it mean that teams should stop going there, I don't think so. Let the terrorists know you are not afraid of them by going and playing in Pakistan unless you are what they think you are. LONG LIVE CRICKET and the followers of cricket. Pakistan did not do any big special favor by playing in Sri Lanka they did what everyone is suppose to do which is STAND with the CRICKETERS and the CRICKET LOVERS and so can you.

  • on January 13, 2012, 0:40 GMT

    Any pakistani cricketng fan wants to see cricket in Pakistan BUT lets ask ourself are you sure about this???? Lets get the house law in order straighten, get your ducks in line. Once the governament changes (hopefully soon by end of this year)then I can feel it will be safe place. Why you want to invite team that you can not keep them safe I dont think you want another BAD incident to take place that will be like nail in the coffin... and btw WHO CARE ABOUT IPL, not sure why they are making a big deal about that its all money game now no sports. I feel start of 2013 will be a good start but not now a days.

  • Sinhaya on January 13, 2012, 0:21 GMT

    I am keen to see international cricket return to Pakistan, but still I doubt if it is safe as yet.

  • coolitbaby on January 13, 2012, 0:13 GMT

    Improved?? Didn't they say the same thing right before the Lankans got shot? Pak administration's credibility has already taking a beating around the world for so many reasons. Don't add one more reason to it.

  • on January 12, 2012, 23:19 GMT

    Ok I think the things are just fine the way they are. Teams are happy to play Pakistan in UAE and thus saving the face of PCB by honoring their commitment of bilateral series. I agree with others here that any unfortune incident can send another chance of hosting an international by another ten years. Keep it safe and wait till the US Exits our neighbors.

  • cric009 on January 12, 2012, 22:30 GMT

    One good thing for Pak team of NO matches at home- If they win even a single match abroad, they can say we have won more matches abroad than at home!!

  • on January 12, 2012, 21:27 GMT

    I agree with donda. Wait atleast 3 more years. Pakistan would have a new government by then. Imran Khan as Prime Minster will then have a proper security protocol for visiting teams.

  • on January 12, 2012, 21:19 GMT

    @SitaramReddi - Hahaha.. All American Team!!!!! hahaha... May be they should play an ODI series against India, thats if the Yanks can put together a proper team :)))

  • BilalSaleem on January 12, 2012, 21:05 GMT

    @Sir_Freddie_Flintoff - While I agree with you that the situation in Pakistan is not good enough yet, I do not think that 10 years is a reasonable delay. I believe that 2 years is alright, seeing as by that time there will be a new president in charge of Pakistan (inshallah).

  • donda on January 12, 2012, 19:13 GMT

    I think ICC should not take risk while sending any international team to Pakistan for five years from srilankan team attack day.

    Life will go on and people will settle down but incident like that again will hurt pakistan cricket for next 20 years.

    PCB must take small steps and don't hurry into asking teams to visit pakistan now. Three more years of more wait needed.

  • Pak_Guru on January 12, 2012, 18:49 GMT

    Please deal with the Mohammad Amir issue differently, give the kid some hope. Request ICC to reduce his ban & also the jail sentence. Mike, we all know that Amir accepted his mistake, give him one chance, surely the ICC can think over it.

  • on January 12, 2012, 18:07 GMT

    A a first the PCB should invite the All American Cricket team. If they are willing to come and can travel and play safely in Pakistan then maybe others will follow!!!!!!

  • RSBali on January 12, 2012, 17:36 GMT

    Majid must be kidding........nice try though. I feel it may take few years before teams feel confident to travel to Pakistan. Instead Majid try to get Pakistan players in the IPL or lobby for a IPL team from Pakistan (like ICL did) so that fans in India can see their favourite stars in action.

  • AJ_Tiger86 on January 12, 2012, 17:29 GMT

    No, Pakistan not safe for cricketers at all. They said the same things before Sri Lanka toured there in 2009. They had said cricketers wouldn't be targeted by the terrorists. But we all know how things went. I don't think any country should tour Pakistan for at least 10 years, because the political situation in Pakistan is unlikely to change before then.

  • on January 12, 2012, 17:29 GMT

    Safe for cricket? I don't think so.

  • iBilal on January 12, 2012, 17:23 GMT

    situation has definitely improved. The nation is hungry, give us back our cricket, please

  • on January 12, 2012, 16:42 GMT

    dying to see cricket return to Pakistan, please don't desert us :(

  • passionate_cricket_follower on January 12, 2012, 16:08 GMT

    I think Abu Dhabi/UAE is a better place to host Pak "home" series. Its not about presenting a few reports about security on paper. As a person I would never go there leaving my family behind, even if that'd mean the end of my cricketing career!

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  • passionate_cricket_follower on January 12, 2012, 16:08 GMT

    I think Abu Dhabi/UAE is a better place to host Pak "home" series. Its not about presenting a few reports about security on paper. As a person I would never go there leaving my family behind, even if that'd mean the end of my cricketing career!

  • on January 12, 2012, 16:42 GMT

    dying to see cricket return to Pakistan, please don't desert us :(

  • iBilal on January 12, 2012, 17:23 GMT

    situation has definitely improved. The nation is hungry, give us back our cricket, please

  • on January 12, 2012, 17:29 GMT

    Safe for cricket? I don't think so.

  • AJ_Tiger86 on January 12, 2012, 17:29 GMT

    No, Pakistan not safe for cricketers at all. They said the same things before Sri Lanka toured there in 2009. They had said cricketers wouldn't be targeted by the terrorists. But we all know how things went. I don't think any country should tour Pakistan for at least 10 years, because the political situation in Pakistan is unlikely to change before then.

  • RSBali on January 12, 2012, 17:36 GMT

    Majid must be kidding........nice try though. I feel it may take few years before teams feel confident to travel to Pakistan. Instead Majid try to get Pakistan players in the IPL or lobby for a IPL team from Pakistan (like ICL did) so that fans in India can see their favourite stars in action.

  • on January 12, 2012, 18:07 GMT

    A a first the PCB should invite the All American Cricket team. If they are willing to come and can travel and play safely in Pakistan then maybe others will follow!!!!!!

  • Pak_Guru on January 12, 2012, 18:49 GMT

    Please deal with the Mohammad Amir issue differently, give the kid some hope. Request ICC to reduce his ban & also the jail sentence. Mike, we all know that Amir accepted his mistake, give him one chance, surely the ICC can think over it.

  • donda on January 12, 2012, 19:13 GMT

    I think ICC should not take risk while sending any international team to Pakistan for five years from srilankan team attack day.

    Life will go on and people will settle down but incident like that again will hurt pakistan cricket for next 20 years.

    PCB must take small steps and don't hurry into asking teams to visit pakistan now. Three more years of more wait needed.

  • BilalSaleem on January 12, 2012, 21:05 GMT

    @Sir_Freddie_Flintoff - While I agree with you that the situation in Pakistan is not good enough yet, I do not think that 10 years is a reasonable delay. I believe that 2 years is alright, seeing as by that time there will be a new president in charge of Pakistan (inshallah).